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. US sanctions 11 companies with ties to Iran's Melli Bank
WASHINGTON, March 3 (AFP) Mar 03, 2009
The US Treasury Department on Tuesday slapped sanctions on 11 companies linked to Iran's Bank Melli, which international officials allege supports nuclear and ballistic missile programs in the Islamic Republic.

"The international community has recognized the proliferation risks posed by Iran's Bank Melli," said US undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence Stuart Levey.

"We will continue to take steps to protect the integrity of the international financial system by exposing the banks, companies, and individuals supporting Iran's nuclear and missile programs," he said in a statement.

The 11 targeted companies, eight of which are located in Tehran, are affiliated with Melli Bank.

Bank Melli, Iran's largest bank, has been on a US list of companies sanctioned supporting Iran's alleged nuclear aspirations since 2007, and figures on a similar blacklist compiled by Australia and the European Union.

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